Rocky Road to Dublin. Music Monday.

This just happens to be posted on Monday, that thing is less important to me. This is another non-geeky music choosing, and well, next post dealing with music will have something quite special, including a couple of different songs in Hebrew.

Anyway, this time I’ll talk about yet another old Irish song, Rocky Road to Dublin (this post is posted from school, so most links will be added when I get home), another song from the 19th century, of which there are a great many version. This time I’ll focus on two quite different versions, the stripped down and the grandiose.

That’s the masterful Luke Kelly with the stripped down version. I think he must have mastered cyclical breathing, as if he were a bagpipe performer in order to perform that song the way he did. The version has just him singing, it’s simple, and it’s beautiful.

Here is an old version of Luke with his band, The Dubliners (he died early, so if you hear anything of theirs from the last two decades he’s not there), and hear his amusing note, that you need to be able to perform this song after hearing it just once, if you call yourself an English speaker ;)

This is the very beautiful rendition by The High Kings, an American Irish band from a performance of theirs in the United Kingdom. You can notice that this version is quite beautiful, and yet more than a bit different from the first one. We have several people singing together, a grand (and very good) musical accompaniment, and well, I love them both. I don’t know if I could pick which one I like better, to be honest.

A geeky moment: The word shillelagh means “wooden club”, and I knew its meaning because in Dungeons and Dragons it’s one of the first level Druid spells ;)

You will notice neither of the renditions above matches the lyrics down one-for-one, and each fails to match it in different ways. That’s what you get with 19th century folk songs :)


In the merry month of June from me home I started,
Left the girls of Tuam so sad and broken hearted,
Saluted father dear, kissed me darlin’ mother!
Then drank a pint of beer, tears and grief to smother
Then off to reap the corn, leave where I was born,
Cut a stout black thorn to banish ghosts and goblins!
Bought a pair of brogues rattling o’er the bogs
And fright’ning all the dogs on the rocky road to Dublin!

One two three four five,
Hunt the hare and turn her down the rocky road
And all the way to Dublin, whack follol de rah!

In Mullingar that night I rested limbs so weary
Started by daylight next morning bright and early
Took a drop of the pure to keep me heart from sinking;
That’s a Paddy’s cure whenever he’s on drinking
See the lassies smile, laughing all the while
At me darlin’ style, ‘twould set your heart a bubblin’
Asked me was I hired, wages I required
Till I was almost tired of the rocky road to Dublin,


In Dublin next arrived, I thought it’d be a pity
To be soon deprived a view of that fine city.
So then I took a stroll, all among the quality;
Me bundle it was stole, all in a neat locality.
Something crossed me mind, when I looked behind,
No bundle could I find upon me stick a wobblin’
Enquiring for the rogue, they said me Connaught brogue
Wasn’t much in vogue on the rocky road to Dublin,


From there I got away, me spirits never failing,
Landed on the quay, just as the ship was sailing.
The captain at me roared, said that no room had he;
When I jumped aboard, a cabin found for Paddy.
Down among the pigs, played some hearty rigs,
Danced some hearty jigs, the water round me bubblin’;
When off Holyhead wished meself was dead,
Or better for instead on the rocky road to Dublin,


The boys of Liverpool, when we safely landed,
Called meself a fool, I could no longer stand it.
Blood began to boil, temper I was losing;
Poor old Erin’s Isle they began abusing.
“Hurrah me soul!” says I, shillelagh I let fly.
Some Galway boys were nigh and saw I was a hobblin’,
With a loud “hurray!” joined in the affray.
We quickly cleared the way for the rocky road to Dublin,



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2 comments on “Rocky Road to Dublin. Music Monday.

  1. Yi says:

    Interesting. Never really been exposed to this genre before. ^ ^

    • Guy says:

      I have an ecclectic taste, and as I said in the previous music post, one should also expose one’s friends, especially of the geeky persuasion, to non-geeky stuff. I mean, I only give you guys the best :)

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